Africa seems to hold a fascination for Western celebrities, who regularly descend on the continent as if they are 18th-century explorers discovering 'the dark continent'--much to the amusement of locals. What should we make of Melania Trump's Out of Africa adventure, asks Rafiq Raji.
Melania Trump's staff briefings before she headea off to Africa in early October are not too hard to imagine. Her staff revealed she had her mind set on the trip at the very beginning of her husband's Presidency. It would certainly not be derisory to reckon there was more talk about clothes than culture, policy or politics at the pretrip meets.
Reminiscent of the colonial era, America's First Lady chose to wear khakis with a pith helmet to match while on Safari in Kenya. The television screen could very well have been black and white to make the act complete.
As Expected, she visited some schools and went around to the usual places to affirm some of the misery she was likely told to expect to see.
Her comments during the trip were inevitably about her husband. Choosing the African backdrop as the stage for her first substantive public comments on any major political issue, Mrs Trump defended her husband's controversial choice for the American Supreme Court Judge, Brett Kavanaugh, and inadvertently revealed she was of the same ilk as her husband. This would not be considered a compliment in most circles.
But this is probably too mean a characterisation. There was likely a genuine desire on her part to see the continent. And to help. But for someone who was once an international model and had travelled the world, it was a little striking she was only just visiting the continent for the first time.
But at least she visited. Her husband has never set foot in these parts before. Did she leave a favourable impression though? And is she likely to make her husband more favourably disposed to the continent?
It could be argued that Mr Trump was already beginning to pay attention to goings-on on the continent beforehand. And that perhaps a consequence of that was how the continent was brought to the attention of his still glamorous wife.
But after dismissing the entire continent as full of sh****le countries, one has to wonder what sort of communication, if any, passed between husband and wife.
The visit by two British royals, Prince Charles of Wales and his wife, Camilla, the Duchess of Cornwall, to the continent about a month after her trip probably provides the perfect...